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No trial in 35W bridge collapse cases until 2011

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None of the lawsuits filed in the Interstate 35W bridge collapse will head to trial before March 2011, more than 3 1/2 years after the tragedy.

      Judge Deborah Hedlund outlined the trial schedule this week for the case, which involves roughly 130 plaintiffs as well as some cross-lawsuits among the defendants.

      The Aug. 1, 2007 collapse killed 13 people and injured 145. The main lawsuit targets are URS Corp. and Progressive Contractors Inc., two companies working under state contracts to assess and repair the 40-year-old bridge. The state of Minnesota and the company that acquired the original designer are also involved.

      The parties will spend next year sorting through pre-trial motions, depositions and data exchanges.

      Hedlund appointed retired judge Robert Lynn a special master to oversee pre-trial aspects of the case.

             (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)